Brad Paisley Ready to Win Over Stones Fans

Says Rolling Stones Are the "Absolute Top Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World"

Brad Paisley is the first to admit he’ll need to win over some skeptical Rolling Stones fans when he opens the British band’s June 17 stadium concert at Nashville’s LP Field.

“I haven’t thought about this in about a decade — about what it means to be an opening act and what the difference is,” Paisley told CMT Hot 20 Countdown. “I have a renewed appreciation for all these people that go out in the road with me — and that is that there is a percentage of the crowd that is big fans of theirs, as well, but 100 percent of that crowd is aware that they are there to see the headliner. Even if they came to see the opener, as well, it’s that headliner’s crowd.”

For every positive tweet saying, “Yay! Brad’s going to be there, too,” Paisley says there will be others tweeting, “This is BS that I have to sit through this hick” and “This hillbilly is going to play? What are they thinking? I guess I’ll go late.”

“I’m guaranteeing you, that’s on there if you look,” Paisley said. “So my challenge is to win that person. You know, make them think, “Hey, it wasn’t that bad,” before it’s over.

Paisley, who sat in with the Rolling Stones during the band’s 2013 concert in Philadelphia, had no hesitation in accepting their invitation to open the Nashville show.

“It’s really cool,” he said. “I think the world of that band. I think they’re really, in many ways, the absolute top rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. In my count, they’re in the Top 5 country bands for that matter, too. What limited things you would call country that they did are still examples beyond compare — like ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and ‘Sweet Virginia’ and ‘Dead Flowers’ and these songs that, truthfully, are country.”

Referring to lead vocalist Mick Jagger as “iconic as it gets in rock ‘n’ roll,” Paisley acknowledges he is a huge fan.

“There’s never been a better front man of any band, and there never will be,” he said. “Everyone is trying to be him. You just don’t. … No matter how comfortable you get, you don’t forget there’s this thing in the back of your mind like, ‘Holy cow, that’s Mick Jagger!’”

For more, tune into an all-new episode of CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (May 30-31) at 9 a.m. ET/PT.